Thursday, June 27, 2013

Today's Internets - "Then what are you for?"

This is awesome.  Akshaya Trust INDIA  |  CNN Top 10 Hero of 2010  |  Akshaya Trust Founder

"Drinking and driving can be fatal. But government data show that sleeplessness and driving are just as deadly. Having kids in the back seat, looking at GPS map instructions, fiddling with the radio and eating while driving are often deadly, too. But sleeplessness doesn't seem as decadent and irresponsible as drinking. Nor is there an easy way for police to test for such discretions -- no breathalyzer test for excessive radio tuning.

Why is the DUI test all about alcohol level, rather than behavior? Government keeps lowering legal blood-alcohol levels -- recently from .10 to .08 -- and now they want to lower it to .05. But some people are good drivers even after a drink or two. It would be better to punish people for "reckless" driving. Alcohol-related driving deaths are down. Groups like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) credit tougher DUI laws, but it's not clear that they are right. Maybe people are simply more aware of the dangers, thanks to publicity from groups like MADD. Safer car designs helped, too. Non-alcohol-related driving deaths are also down. Stats that some cite to claim alcohol is the cause of a third of highway accidents are misleading. That just means that a third of the people had alcohol in their systems; it doesn't necessarily mean alcohol caused the accident...

At least DUI laws seek to protect people from others. But government puritans go well beyond that, banning activities that harm only the individual engaged in them -- like gambling. Polls show 70 percent of you support the current ban on Internet gambling. Why? It's true, for some people, gambling becomes addictive. Some wreck their lives. But for most people, gambling is entertainment, practice in using strategy and an excuse to socialize. A little risk is fun. And the laws don't stop the activity. They drive it underground, where it's run by criminals. If we banned every activity that had the potential to become addictive, we'd have to ban fatty foods, sex, alcohol and investing in the stock market. Life means risk...

After hearing about those moral panics, you might feel like relaxing with a cold beer. But don't try buying one from a convenience store in Indiana. The state requires that the beer be sold warm. In theory, warm beer will discourage drinking on the road. I doubt that such laws help. Perhaps puritanical laws don't have to make sense. They just have to leave us feeling righteous because we've done something to crack down on bad behavior."

Thank the old gods and the new [GoT shout out!] that SCOTUS has "destroyed" Biblical marriage [you goofy religious fucks.]  Concubines sound exhausting.

"We know that people have gotten fatter over the course of the last 60 years. We don't yet know exactly why, writes David Berreby in a fascinating long read at Aeon Magazine. Yes, we know that diet and exercise have something to do with it — but they don't explain all the changes we've seen. Yes, you can find plenty of people who will proselytize to you about how they've found the One True Obesogen — but in order to do that they have to ignore contradictory studies and studies that suggest there's more than one thing going on. Long story short, if we know anything about obesity its that it's complicated — and that's true for both the factors that create an obesity epidemic, and the factors that allow people to reliably and permanently lose weight. The problem, writes Berreby, is that legislation on the subject has been focused pretty much entirely on diet and exercise, alone. That suggests that laziness and gluttony are the primary reasons people get fat. But we don't know that that's true."

Thursday Throwback Jam.

Nazis Used Meth? 5 Things to Know About One of the World's Favorite Stimulants | Alternet
"As one who writes in defense of recreational “hard” drug users, I am frequently irked by the anti-drug sensationalism presented in supposedly objective news articles. An example is the recent front-page article in the Huffington Post, “ Nazis Took ‘Meth’ Pills to Stay Alert, Boost Endurance During World War II, Letters Reveal." Pairing methamphetamine with the Nazis is a double-the-evil masterstroke of front-page flair. It comes from a journalistic tradition that has similarly paired crack with black welfare queens in the mythic crack-baby epidemic, and cannibals and mephedrone in the nonsensical bath-salts cannibalism phenomenon...

1. Nothing New Here First, the letters did not reveal anything new. Nazi use of Pervitin has been widely known for over seventy years...

2. American Kids Are Prescribed Almost the Same Thing.  
Methamphetamine is a type of amphetamine that has essentially the same effect on the central nervous system as dextroamphetamine. Dextroamphetamine is in Adderall. The substantial difference between street methamphetamine and Adderall is not from their pharmacology but from dosage and administration...

3. Allied Forces Did and Still Do Almost the Same Thing. 
During World War II over 72 million “energy tablets” were dispersed to the British military, and an even larger amount went to US forces. Amphetamines assisted in stopping Erwin “Desert Fox” Rommel and the German army in Northern Africa at the Second Battle of El Alamein where the British 24th Armoured Brigade fought without sleep for four straight days while losing heavy casualties. Ironically, the American military went with amphetamines instead of methamphetamines because the former provided a better “subjective lift in mood.” In lay terms, the US chose amphetamine because it gave a better high, and they continued to use it. Decades later the US military’s usage of amphetamines per soldier in Vietnam dwarfed the usage of both the Germans and the Allies in World War II. The amphetamine Dexedrine is still used by Air Force pilots today. In 2003, Colonel Peter Demitry, chief of the US Air Force surgeon-general’s science and technology division, said that Dexedrine, “has never been associated with a proven adverse outcome in a military operation. This is a common, legal, ethical, moral and correct application.” If the distribution of amphetamines caused significant troop addiction, it is doubtful the military would continue to use it. 

4. Everyone Already Knows That Meth Is Bad. 
The requisite morality message that methamphetamine is bad is delivered in the article by saying its usage leads to the symptoms exhibited by extreme cases. Most people who try methamphetamine do not continue to use it regularly..."

" me one truly healthy and successful society run according to divinely mandated religious rules based on the idea that its god is better than any other -- or where extremist religious groups intimidate and wage war against fellow citizens, sometimes using terror and violence...

Too many people in the Middle East refuse to look in the mirror. They'd rather come up with excuses and justifications as to why others, particularly forces outside their neighborhood, are responsible for their misfortunes. I know all about colonialism, Zionism, imperialism, communism, secularism, Islamism, and every other -ism that's been marshaled to show why outsiders and not locals deserve the blame for what goes on in the Arab world. But let's get real. At some point, as every person knows, there's an expiration date for blaming your parents for the way you turned out. And in the case of the Arab world, the warranty on coverage for blaming the Mossad, the CIA, America, the Jews, or Bozo the Clown for the absence of democracy, the lack of respect for human rights, and gender inequality has long expired."

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